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Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas - page 120 / 129





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Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas

tract of land six times the size of the British Isles, and with only as many people in it as are to be found in any ordinary town in England, such as Brighton.

So they sallied out in all their war-paint to slaughter the pioneers, but these men were all pretty good frontiersmen, and were quite able to stand up to the Matabele, although largely outnumbered by them. Time after time the savage warriors attacked the whites, but were driven back on each occasion with heavy losses. At length, finding that fighting was no good, the natives gave in and made a treaty of peace with the white men, and the pioneers started to settle the country and to administer it.

Rut they had not succeeded without some severe losses, notably when a party under Major Wilson was pursuing the Matabele King, Lobengula, along the Shangani River and got surrounded and cut off by the enemy. For some hours they stood on the defensive while their ammunition gradually ran out, until finally the enemy were able to rush them with their assegais, and not one lived to tell the tale.

Second Matabele Campaign

Buluwayo, which had been Lobengula’s head kraal, now became the site of the new town; farms started in every direction with white settlers from England, gold and coal were discovered, and the country settled down apparently to being a peaceful and prosperous British colony.

But within three years the same thing happened which had always happened before, and for which our people never seem to be prepared, although if they only read their history books they would see the lesson told to them often enough. The natives suddenly broke out and began murdering the farmers.

Selous, the well-known hunter, had a farm about thirty miles outside Buluwayo. He was away one, morning and his wife was alone in the house, when a native from the neighbouring Matabele village came and asked her to lend him as many axes as she could spare. She lent them, although she could not make out why the man wanted them. Well, it was a rather difficult matter for him to explain, the truth being that he and his friends wanted the axes in order to batter in her head and Captain Selous’ later in the day.

Fortunately her husband returned shortly after, having got wind of the native rebellion, and getting Mrs. Selous hurriedly on to her horse, they both left hastily for Buluwayo, but before they were out of sight of their farm they saw, on looking back, that it was already in flames; the Matabele were on the war-path.

And it took its nearly a year’s campaigning before we finally overcame them and peace was once more established. And now Rhodesia is a rising and prosperous country; and giving grand openings to enterprising young colonists.

Native Outbreaks But with these warlike natives you can never tell when they may not break out.

The only thing is to Be Prepared beforehand, and then you will be perfectly safe. If every farm had its little fort or fortified building always ready, and its men and women and boys all trained to shoot, there would be very few of the murders and raids which have been so common in the country when the defenceless state of the farmers invited attack.

And this is one of the reasons why we encourage Scouts to learn marksmanship- just on the same principle that they learn boxing-not in order that they should go and attack everyone they see, but that they should be able to defend themselves and those who are dear to them should it ever be necessary to do so.

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